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Potential buyers circle Liberty

Big names are running the slide rule over department store Liberty, but a “serious offer” remains to be tabled.

Robert Bensoussan’s Sirius Equity, which backs LK Bennett, and distribution and retail giant Li & Fung are said to be among potential bidders.

However, a source familiar with the situation said that interest received so far did not yet amount to “serious offers” and did not know whether the process would lead to the tabling of fleshed out proposals.

Liberty, which is backed by property firm MWB which last week unveiled a £25m share placing to avoid breaching banking covenants, appointed advisors Cavendish Corporate Finance and Global Leisure Partners in July to advise on finding new investors or partners as it seeks to expand internationally. However, the fundraising also attracted interest from parties interested in buying the whole of Liberty.

In its November update, MWB said Liberty had delivered “strong” trading in July, tailing off in the second half of August. In September, revenue was stronger than the previous year.

In its first half to June 30, Liberty generated operating EBITDA of £30,000 versus a £2.7m loss in the comparable period. However, it made a pre-tax loss of £2.4m.

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